Abram Rescues Lot
1About this time, King Amraphel of Babylonia, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2attacked King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, a city also known as Zoar. 3-4King Chedorlaomer and his allies had ruled these last five kings for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year the kings rebelled and joined forces in Siddim Valley, which is now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea.
5A year later King Chedorlaomer and his allies attacked and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth-Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, and the Emites in Shaveh-Kiriathaim. 6They also defeated the Horites in the hill country of Edom, as far as El-Paran, near the desert.
7They went back to the city of Enmishpat, better known as Kadesh. Then they captured all the land that belonged to the Amalekites, and they defeated the Amorites who were living in Hazazon-Tamar.
8-9At Siddim Valley, the armies of the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela fought the armies of King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar. The valley 10was full of tar pits, and when the troops from Sodom and Gomorrah started running away, some of them fell into the pits. Others escaped to the hill country. 11Their enemies took everything of value from Sodom and Gomorrah, including their food supplies. 12They also captured Abram's nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom. They took him and his possessions and then left.
13At this time Abram the Hebrew was living near the oaks that belonged to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his brothers Eshcol and Aner were Abram's friends. Someone who had escaped from the battle told Abram 14that his nephew Lot had been taken away. Three hundred and eighteen of Abram's servants were fighting men, so he took them and followed the enemy as far north as the city of Dan.
15That night, Abram divided up his troops, attacked from all sides, and won a great victory. But some of the enemy escaped to the town of Hobah north of Damascus, 16and Abram went after them. He brought back his nephew Lot, together with Lot's possessions and the women and everyone else who had been captured.
Abram Is Blessed
17Abram returned after he had defeated King Chedorlaomer and the other kings. Then the king of Sodom went to meet Abram in Shaveh Valley, which is also known as King's Valley.
18 King Melchizedek of Salem was a priest of God Most High. He brought out some bread and wine 19and said to Abram:
“I bless you in the name
of God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20All praise belongs
to God Most High
for helping you defeat
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
21The king of Sodom said to Abram, “All I want are my people. You can keep everything else.”
The Lord God Most High made the heavens and the earth. And I have promised him 23that I won't keep anything of yours, not even a sandal strap or a piece of thread. Then you can never say that you are the one who made me rich. 24Let my share be the food that my men have eaten. But Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre went with me, so give them their share of what we brought back.
Abram was fearful in Egypt, but now is courageous and recovers everything stolen by the raiding kings. And he’s growing in God’s character, concerned for the welfare of other people (something he didn’t show for Sarai in Egypt).
Most importantly, he recognizes God’s hand at work.
Today we see two ways to give credit for success. Melchizedek recognized the Lord as the true source of Abram’s victory, and Abram blessed him materially because he gave glory to God. Sodom’s king, however, recognized only Abram as the victor, and offered him the victor’s spoils.
Why Credit God?
By rejecting Sodom’s reward, Abram showed that God would be his only source of blessing. And by glorifying God for the military victory, he was announcing “there’s a new kid on the block”, that another king was active in this world, the One True King. This is the Bible’s story, from Genesis to Revelation—the True King restoring his creation to his rule.
Giving credit to God for our accomplishments is not about feeding the ego of a vain God “up there”, but about acknowledging God’s work in the world today. Telling people what God has done, as the Israelites do in Psalm 105, powerfully declares the kingship of God “right here, right now!”
Had Abram let his pride rule, he would have accepted the spoils. But he set pride and ego aside and acknowledged God the King as the ultimate source of victory. Even Jesus credits his Father for everything he did, saying “The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Giving credit to God for what he has done in your life is a crucial part of your testimony about God as Lord and King.
Glorious God, King of kings and Lord of lords, Creator of heaven and earth, help me set ego and pride aside and find satisfaction in serving you for your glory, so that through me people I know will also know you. In the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen.
John Pellowe is the CEO of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, an association of 3,200 Christian churches and agencies. His passion is to help ministry leaders reflect on the application of their faith to their leadership practices in order that how ministries operate is as much a presentation of the Gospel as what they do.